Congratulations! If you’re reading this, you’ve probably been asked to be a Bridesmaid or Maid/Matron of Honor in a very dear friend or family member’s wedding.
I was the MOH in two of my best friend’s weddings this past year. I’ve never been a bridesmaid, and I had to jump right into the MOH role. I did the research as to what was expected of me, and what I should expect as the MOH. It was a learning experience, and a very fun one at that.
I hope you find this helpful, and I hope to answer some burning questions that you may have, but may feel weird to ask.
Let’s get started.
Maid/Matron of Honor:
This is a huge honor, and a huge responsibility. But you can do it! You are going to be the bride’s right hand woman. You are the liaison between the bride and the bridesmaids. You are there to ensure the bride’s wishes are granted, with respect to the shower and bachelorette party. You are going to be the person the bridesmaids will go to with questions, opinions and concerns. You will be the treasurer. You will be by the bride’s side on her wedding day. It’s important that you stay calm, and stay organized.
Once all bridesmaids have officially been asked by the bride, you are going to want to introduce yourself. You will most likely know all of the bridesmaids, but they may not know you, and they may not know each other. Get everyone’s phone numbers and emails. How you choose to correspond is up to you. You can create a google doc for everyone to share ideas. You can start a group text. An email thread. This is all great stuff, but you must meet in person with everybody so that there is no miscommunication. If you can only meet once, meet prior to the shower and bachelorette party.
Before you meet with the other ladies, meet with the bride first. Sit down and discuss all of her expectations. Does she want her shower to be a complete surprise? Does she have a list of guests? Does she want a particular theme? What kind of bachelorette party does she want? A wild night with a stripper? A day in town? A weekend beach getaway? A destination party? Be upfront with the bride. If she is having a destination wedding, a destination bachelorette party may be a lot to ask. Come up with some other solid local options. A spa day, nails, a great meal, wine tasting, night out at the bars, etc. Also, who does the bride want at the bachelorette party? You may even have the privilege to go with the bride as she picks out her gown.
You’ll also want to have a discussion with the bride’s mother. There are expectations that you must set with her as well. Who is paying for the shower venue? Does she have a guest list? Who has all of the guest’s addresses? These are all things you must discuss with mom.
Once you meet with the bride and her mother, schedule your meeting with the bridesmaids. You are going to want to delegate tasks. The more you leave up for interpretation, allows too much room for opinion. You want the girl’s opinions to feel valued, and you want to make them feel like they can come to you. But you also want to have control over the situation. If there are a lot of bridesmaids, it becomes overwhelming to have so many opinions. The bride chose you for a reason to be her MOH. You know her the best. What you can do is delegate the tasks, but allow the girls creative freedom. For example, if you let one girl decorate the bride’s chair, don’t tell her how to decorate the chair. Let her decorate it how she sees fit, so as long as it sticks with the general theme. You shouldn’t be bossy.
Here are your responsibilities. Delegating the tasks should be your first priority to ensure that everything is covered and taken care of for the shower day. You want to make it as fair as possible. I personally took on the costly items, not only because I was the MOH, but because I wanted to do it for my best friend. I paid for invitations, postage, certain decorations, a huge Instagram cut out. The favors can tend to be expensive as well, so plan accordingly. The less expensive items include decorations and alcohol (if it’s BYOB). Most people don’t drink a ton of alcohol at afternoon showers. You can provide inexpensive wine, build-your-own mimosas, etc. Pinterest is your best friend. You should be having a discussion with the bridesmaids. These are questions to think about. Who is going to get pictures printed of the bride/groom? Who is providing the alcohol? The favors? Games? Prizes? Centerpieces? Cake? Snapchat filter? Who is responsible for what decorations? If the mother of the bride is covering the venue, then it’s only right that the MOH/bride tribe take care of everything else. Also, you should be getting a group gift for the bride, to be split equally among the party. This can be one of the more expensive items on her registry, or a nice cash gift.
The Bachelorette Party:
After you have had a discussion with the bride as to what she wants to do, and who she wants to include, relay the message to the girls at your meeting. There may be others that aren’t in the bridal party that you should include in the planning discussion as well. Many will have opinions, but remember, this is what the bride wants. Start planning this early. Things need to be booked with plenty of time, and you will need to collect money from everyone. Use Venmo, it’s a lifesaver. Collect the money before you have to pay for anything. You shouldn’t have to put the money out.
You really shouldn’t let the bride pay for anything. If it’s a destination party, you may want to have a discussion with the bride, because it may be costly to cover the travel expenses for her. But if you are taking a local weekend getaway, maybe to the beach, or a just a one day/night thing, you should cover everything as a group, from entrance fees, to hotel, to food. This should be split equally amid the bridal party. Take turns buying the bride drinks. Get simple decorations. Don’t forget a sash for the bride. Games are fun too. A blow up penis, the whole nine yards (pun intended).
You are going to be with the bride all day long. You will help her get dressed, you will be there for hair and makeup. Remind her that you are there for whatever she may need, as this is a highly stressful/emotional day. Ease the stress by being accommodating. You will be standing right next to her as she says “I do,” and you will be holding her bouquet. You will be fluffing her train for pictures, and holding her train so it doesn’t touch the ground. You will be helping her pee, getting her water, etc. You may need to bustle her dress for the reception, and you may need to prepare a killer toast/speech. This is your moment to reflect on your relationship, and show her how much she means to you. This is the best day ever, and everything you prepped and prepared for is all worth it on this day.
What you will probably spend: $1,000 - (I will break this down at the very end).
Congrats! You’ve been asked to be a bridesmaid! Now what? There are a lot of fun things to do and plan (dresses, shower, decorations, bach party).
Once you’ve been contacted by the bride or MOH, and you understand what the bride wants, it’s time to start thinking about ideas for decorations and party details. Start setting money aside. Go on Pinterest, begin finding things online that you may want to purchase for the shower/bach party. Show the MOH your ideas.
If you have any questions, comments or concerns, do NOT go to the bride. First, go directly to the MOH. The bride is going to be stressed as it is with the planning of her wedding and the associated expenses.
Depending on what the bride wants for your bridesmaid dress, you really do not have an opinion. Unless it’s totally unflattering. Hopefully, she wouldn’t make you wear an unflattering dress. Ultimately, the style and color are all up to her. When it’s your turn to get married, you will get to choose the dress. She may even let you choose the style, (she chooses the color). Get your dress altered with plenty of time prior to the wedding. Don’t forget about jewelry and shoes. The bride may or may not care if you match with the other girls.
Expect to share in the cost of the shower and bachelorette party. You may be jointly responsible for covering the shower venue. If not, you may be jointly/solely responsible for some of the decorations, alcohol, favors, games, invitations, centerpieces, cake, etc. You will also need to get the bride a shower gift. This is usually a joint gift, and can be an expensive registry item (split equally), or maybe a cash gift.
As for the bachelorette party, this isn’t your party. It’s the bride’s. So although you may not be into what she wants to do (stripper, night on the town), you have to suck it up. If the bride wants a destination party (meaning a trip that includes a flight), don’t be afraid to speak up if this is out of your budget. It’s not always reasonable, and it’s not always feasible. Depending on the cost of the flight, you may be able to split the bride’s air among the group. It all depends. The bride may even cover her own airfare. You should pay for entrance fees, decorations, shirts, food, games and drinks with the other girls. The bride shouldn’t have to pay these things. Remember.. it’s not that bad, because you will be splitting this with the bridal party. The hotel should depend upon where you are going. Resorts tend to be more expensive than Airbnbs or regular hotels within the United States. If you are new to Airbnb, click here to sign up and use my link. You will receive $40 towards your first stay!
If you are doing a local weekend beach getaway, or a night out/overnight, you are expected to also cover the cost of the hotel with the other girls. It’s only right, and it’s not super expensive when split amid the group. The MOH should be the person in charge of handling the money and organizing the trip. If you do fly somewhere, it will be your responsibility to arrange your travel. Ask for an itinerary.
You will most likely be getting ready alongside the bride, bridesmaids, and maybe even mothers of the bride/groom. The bride may get you something to wear when you get ready (robe, pjs). Make sure you have enough cash for makeup, hair, and tip. The bride should lay out what all of this is going to cost prior. You will then head to the wedding venue and take photos. After photos, there may be a bridal suite to hang out in with the entire bridal party, until the start of the wedding. There may even be snacks and water/champagne.
You will most likely have had a rehearsal dinner prior to the wedding, so you will know where to stand, where to walk, etc. Once the bride and groom say “I do,” enjoy the cocktail hour and wedding! You have worked so hard, and planned killer wedding festivities that the bride will remember for a lifetime.
What you will probably spend: $700-$1000
Okay, here is the big elephant in the room. What does all this $hit cost? This is roughly what I paid/my girls paid below. There are obviously many variables and factors, but you will get an idea of what to expect.
$$$$ WEDDING COST BREAKDOWN PER PERSON $$$$:
Bridesmaid Dress: $150-$250
Bachelorette Party (varies upon what you do): $200-$400
Decorations For Shower/Games/Centerpiece/Cake Contributions: $30-$60
Decorations (sash, pins, banners)/Games For Bachelorette: $5-$8
Wedding Hair: $75-$100
Wedding Makeup: $75-$85
Tip: At your discretion. At least $10 per artist/stylist.
Shower Gift: $50-$75
Wedding Gift: At least $100 per guest attending wedding
$$$$ WEDDING COST BREAKDOWN IN TOTAL $$$$:
Alcohol for Shower: $30-$40
Instagram Cut-Out: $35-$50
Recipe Cards: $20
Shoes: Vary - DSW has great coupons. I spent $13. Formal shoes can go up to $70
Shower Favors: $60-$125
Snapchat Filter: $5-$10
To conclude, I just want to reiterate that this is a really fun and rewarding experience. You should totally be honored to be a part of your girlfriend’s big day. Yes, this may seem like a lot of money, but it’s usually spent over the course of a year. You do it because you are truly honored and so excited to be included in the festivities, and to be by your girlfriend on her very special day. These memories last a lifetime, and I can guarantee the bride will appreciate all of your effort and hard work.
Let me know if you have any questions on topics that I may not have covered, more specific costs, etc. I would be happy to share any sites I used for purchasing invites or decorations.